23 April 2009

Official Miss Sweden Barred from Miss Universe Pageant

The official winner of the Miss Sweden pageant will not be permitted to enter Miss Universe.

Panos Papadopoulos, director of the official Miss Sweden pageant, has tried over the last several years to modernize the event, and says that the effort required to do that put Sweden's entry at odds with the outmoded ideas of Miss Universe's organizers.

Under Mr Papadopoulos, the Miss Sweden pageant would be based around the contestant's personality, intelligence, interest in the world around her, her ability to be a role model, and to be a positive influence on young women the world over. His hope was that he could influence other nations to re-evaluate their own national pageants.

Nightclub tours, at which girls were often paid to compete, were abolished. Mr Papadopoulos also dropped the swimsuit competition.

"I did not feel it to be appropriate to first ask these young women to parade in front of an audience in a bathing suit and to then be asked to answer complicated political or ethical questions while still wearing only the minimum of clothing," states Mr Papadopoulos.

"Unfortunately the personnel behind the Miss Universe competition do not seem to see things in the same light."

Mr Papadopoulos says he has kept the Miss Universe Organization informed of the Miss Sweden pageant's changes. Instead of accepting these changes, Miss Universe has gone on attack, using lawyers as its first resort.

The Miss Universe Organization has unilaterally broken off the partnership with the official Miss Sweden organization and will not allow the pageant to send its Miss Sweden 2009 to the Miss Universe pageant in August 2009.
'They have shown no interest at all in working together to create a unique, new concept," says Mr Papadopoulos.

"We must listen to the young," he says. 'They are looking for a modern competition that reflects their own very sound values; intelligence, family, creativity, self-confidence and of course an active interest in the world. Miss Universe does not meet these young women's needs; instead it degrades them and reduces them to mere visual objects instead of emphasizing their personalities and values."